4 September 2022
Civic participation can be both an instrumentalised buzzword and an ideoscape, which travels around the world through the porosity of abyssal lines.
The “social history” of the term enlightens the richness/ambiguities of a concept shaped in specific time-space frames, while it travels and gets risemantised by dialoguing and clashing with different cosmologies and relationalities. This travel will focus mainly on institutionalised devices of civic participation, aware that the “participation by invitation” crosses self-organized processes “by irruption” (Ibarra 2006), forcing democracy to deliver its “unfulfilled promises”.
The navigation touches the Andean/Central America, where participation faces indigenous forms of communitarian democracy, body-territory dimensions (Cabnal 2010), and constitution-making, heading to Europe and other Western realities. Here, the “return of caravels” (Allegretti & Herzberg 2004) enriches a stratified story of different models of participation, where established methodologies and redistributive justice can be combined, revealing the existence of “Northern Souths”.
Adopting a “situated regard” from the South remarks the political nature of a term that represents our nature of “social beings”. It is not merely identifiable with interventions in the political life, but require a wider reflection on how individual and collective agencies are built through actions that are necessarily ‘pre-political’.
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